CORRECTION (Published 7/20/2012)
A story in Local news about a draft environmental report for the Walnut Creek BART Transit Village incorrectly reported the relationship between the two companies behind the project. Walnut Creek Transit Lifestyle Associates is a joint venture between a company called Transit Village Associates and apartment giant BRE Properties.

WALNUT CREEK -- After nearly a decade of planning, one of the largest transit, commercial and housing projects in the city is finally moving forward.

The draft environmental report for the Walnut Creek BART Transit Village became public Wednesday and those interested have 45 days, until Aug. 31, to comment on the mammoth document.

The estimated $100 million project aims to bring 596 apartments, 22,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, 16,700 square feet of "commercial-residential flex space" (that could end up as either), a new bus station, 4,000 square feet of office space and a new five-level, 948-space parking garage to the corner of Ygnacio Valley Road and California Boulevard. All of this would be built within the 16.5-acre footprint of the current BART station, bus terminal and surrounding parking lots. This project would be built in phases starting as early as 2013 and finishing in 2018.

"When you think about that location, it is really a central piece of the transportation system not just in Walnut Creek but in Contra Costa County," said Mayor Bob Simmons.

The draft report digs deep into the project's environmental consequences and their mitigations.

While traffic may seem like a primary concern for a project like this, the report finds only three significant impacts from traffic, and two of them can be handled with the payment of impact fees and monitoring.

"The project itself is loaded with transportation improvements, that's why the draft environmental report doesn't have much to say about it," said Rafat Raie, Walnut Creek traffic engineer. "Having the transportation improvements included is out of the ordinary."

As examples, he points to a proposed signalized pedestrian crossing on California, alignment of the intersection at Pringle and Riviera avenues and improvements at Oakland Boulevard and Ygnacio Valley Road.

He says that this project meets regional goals set by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to place housing near transit to cut down on people using cars.

According to the report, the project will generate 4,055 vehicle trips a day to the village, fewer than a traditional development in Walnut Creek "due to the proximity to regional transit and on-site commercial uses."